In 1990, the controversial right-wing Governor of Tokyo, Ishihara Shintaro, published “The Japan That Can Say No: Why Japan Will Be First Among Equals”. Nearly 20 years later, many Japanese are still pondering if or when Japan can “say no” to the United States, the target of Ishihara’s book. Since the end of World War II (WWII), Japan has worked closely with the United States on issues of East Asian security. Still, if America is not careful in addressing Japanese concerns, especially in regard to North Korea, this may create a tipping point in U.S. – Japanese relations, where Tokyo significantly breaks with Washington over foreign policy.Many in the Japanese government have long wanted to take a harder line with North Korea. Some hardliners have even suggested a full remilitarization of Japan, including nuclear capability. Although the majority of the population is still anti-nuclear and support keeping the military (SDF) as a defense force, the percentage of those who do is declining yearly. This also reflects the growing number of Japanese who no longer feel burdened with the legacy of World War II Japanese Imperialism or the necessity of an American security umbrella.In Asia, Japan’s military funding is second only… Read full this story
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